Greenbrier High grad Nolan Belcher and his cousin, Kody Belcher, had fantastic weekends.
Nolan, a sophomore pitcher at the University of South Carolina, was likely making preparations to possibly take the hill for a decisive Game 3 in the NCAA Super Regional in Myrtle Beach, S.C., when one of his baseball dreams was fulfilled with one swing of the bat.
With his Gamecocks down 9-7 with two outs in the ninth inning of Game 2 versus Coastal Carolina, it seemed a deciding Game 3 would be played between the two Palmetto State programs.
Christian Walker had other plans. The big first baseman blasted a three-run homer to put his team in front and send the Gamecocks to Omaha for the College World Series.
It is the Gamecocks' first trip since 2004 to the college baseball mecca. It is also the second time in three seasons a former Greenbrier High School standout will be in Omaha. Two seasons ago, Rich Poythress helped lead Georgia to the national title series versus Fresno State.
Belcher has not logged as many innings as he did a year ago when he was a freshman All-Southeastern Conference performer, but he has still had a solid year. He is 3-1 in 11 appearances (six starts) for the 48-15 Gamecocks. He has an impressive 2.43 ERA and has struck out 32 batters in 29.1 innings. He is also holding opposing hitters to a batting average of just .182.
Good luck to Nolan Belcher and USC in the College World Series.
Kody Belcher also found out some good news during the weekend. The talented junior center fielder has been invited to participate in the most prestigious summer event for baseball prospects. He will be in Tampa, Fla., for the Perfect Game Showcase, which starts Thursday.
Perfect Game is the nation's largest baseball scouting service, and playing well there could be big financially for Kody Belcher next year when the Major League Baseball draft rolls around. A good performance this week could boost his stock among scouts and ensure him a spot in the draft, and potentially vault him up several rounds.
In this month's draft, 19 first-round picks were former Showcase participants, and the list of alumni for the event is a who's who of the top young stars in the game, including Atlanta Brave phenom power hitter Jason Heyward.
This event has produced more first-round draft picks than any of its kind in the past decade. Belcher will get a chance to flash his terrific glove in center field, along with his bat, which helped lead Lakeside to the AAAA championship series.
What a great opportunity. It is nice to see his hard work paying off.
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